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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a trip down memory lane here....

I used to drive a 2001 Pontiac WS6, with several mods so that it was probably putting out 350HP plus. But the lack of refinement, terrible quality of interior (design and materials), the clunkiness of the transmission, the cumbersome feeling of the car due to weight, and the axle in the rear made driving less of a joy.

Then I started thinking of going the opposite end of the spectrum - get a 4 cylinder car, light, tossable, with good handling. I started looking around, read everything about the various alternatives. I used to work for GM, so the Pontiac Vibe GT was available for a very good price (and I had driven it a lot and liked it, with some caveats like the buzzy yamaha engine, too much body roll and so on..). But a senior engineer at GM told me that just as far as pure car went, the SVT focus had no peers in its category. I also read some articles such as this one:

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=57200/pageId=13489

Then I test drove a few SVTs, and was very impressed. I sold my WS6 and bought a SVT. I have never regretted it. The SVT is a really great car - it's indeed one of the great cars made by Ford in the last 10 years IMO. You don't get such acclaim from a tough crowd without making a very good car. Even at GM people felt Ford had engineered a very good car in the SVT.

Just wanted to key in my thoughts on this. Thanks for reading.
 

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WhiteSTguy
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yes you can't go wrong with it. i love mine in every possible way, even if it is kinda slow but it is fast on the corners [:D][thumb] welcome to focusfanatics [welcome]
 

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I've never driven an SVT, but i was very impressed in terms of handling the first time I drove a focus.
the focus (SVT or not) is in deed a great car. too bad the american consumer sees this car as an econobox, therefore it had to be cheapened and all, unlike it's european counterpart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the warm welcome OrangeSVT. I hope to be able to contribute to this nice forum.

To ZX3: The Focus is a very good handling car - top notch. The SVT improves upon an already very good handling platform. So the SVT definitely has the Focus platform to thank.

The thing that really caught my eye with the SVT is that its slalom numbers were higher than the Z06 and BMW M3 for 2002. That is some seriously impressive stuff and shows just how well balanced this platform (meaning the Focus platform) inherently is.

Your comment about the econobox is well taken. But to be fair to the public, it takes a little while for a brand to establish itself. Ford should have stuck to the SVT niche brand and marketed it more forcefully. The young market for factory 4 cylinder performance was too aligned to Honda/Acura, and Ford should have invested some more time in creating its own niche there. Europe is different in that the Japanese presence is not as strong as it is in that segment in the US.

I think Ford pulled the plug rather soon on the SVT. A sad demise of a very capable car. It really could have given domestic automakers a good beachhead in the world of sport compacts. At the moment GM is fighting it out with the Cobalt, and it would have been very good had Ford also had an entry there.

Thanks for reading.
 

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I totally agree about the awesome dynamics of the SVT. My parents bought a new Honda CR-V a few weeks ago and I've driven some 100 miles in it already. Comparing the two, I'm quite hard pressed to find anything I like more in the CR-V than in my SVT...other than the overall build quality. For example, the steering wheel controls on the CR-V are just slightly out of reach of my fingers to be wholeheartedly annoying compared to the absolutely excellent placement of the controls for the Audiophile package in the SVT...I couldn't believe Honda would make a choice like that. I'm also in awe of the quality of the suspension on the SVT. I seriously think the Honda has only a slightly less bumpy ride, however it corners much more poorly! The SVT is no doubt a "hard suspension"...but this is acceptable due to the insane handling. I'm shocked to find that an American brand accomplished so much.

Don't think I have nothing negative to say about the Focus & SVT: the seats suck, I wasn't impressed by the audiophile sound quality / loudness, the idle can be crazy and quirky, and the previous owner showed me the list of how many times the car had been at the dealer being repaired. No doubt the Honda won't be at the dealer other than oil and tires (first scheduled major maintenance isn't until 100k miles...insane).

Regardless, I only paid $12.5k for my SVT...and you no doubt get a lot for your money. Yep, Ford had a winner here...too bad it was axed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To cbo:

Thanks for the post.

I personally love the ergonomics of the SVT, but to be fair I have not owned a Honda which is supposed to be the gold standard when it comes to ergonomics. Still, I cannot imagine better placement of some controls than I find in the SVT.

I am slightly surprised to hear your opinion on the hardness of the SVT ride. I have read some prestigious magazines say that the ride to handling tradeoff in the SVT is as good as a BMW's (which is the gold standard there). In general, if the platform is very capable, you can have good handling without being too hard in the ride department. Conversely, if your platform is poor, to get good handling you will have to have a really hard ride - a case in point was my WS6. To get that platform to handle, they had to have a rock hard ride - you really got beaten up over even the most minor of imperfections on the road. Since the Focus platform is a very good one, Ford was able to manage pretty decent ride dynamics with great handling. But it would still be hard compared to, say, a CR-V which is definitely engineered more towards comfort on long and straight drives.

Your criticism of the audio system is very valid and shared by most industry critics - indeed that was the only sore point for some reviewers of the 2002 SVT. The audio system has not kept pace with the offerings in the Japanese cars. Given that many drivers in this segment really value a top notch sound system, Ford missed a trick here.

You got a good deal on your SVT - yes, surely worth at least that. Apparently early on there were lot of markups on the cars, but by 2004 those had gone away and many were being offered with high rebates.

Thanks for reading.
 

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2004SonicBlueSVT:

I think you misunderstood what I was saying about the ride quality in the SVT: I think it is a FANTASTIC compromise between handling and ride-quality.

I meant to say...the CR-V is fairly bumpy (I'm not kidding here either...it is seriously is noticeably bumpy)....the SVT is bumpy (only compared to "luxury cars"...like a lexus or something)...but the SVT's handling is AWESOME! The CR-V's handling has a lot to be desired.

Mind you, the Focus has a lot less weight and rides much lower to the ground...but regardless...the suspension engineers at SVT knew the ropes. It is probably the best feature of the car.

However, when I say the SVT has a "hard suspension"...this is only on a relative basis. Try hitting a pothole in a Z06 Corvette...and you'll see what bumpy is!

I hope I was more clear this time!

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
cbo:

Yes - it is an incredibly good ride for the handling (and for any car that is not solely engineered for a soft comfort ride).

It's interesting you mention the Z06 - to add to your point, the SVT actually trumped the Z06 in the slalom (60ft) in 2002 which is incredible considering this difference in ride quality. Of course, as you also point out the SVT is much lighter (about 350lbs) but even so, the z06 is an out and out sports car, and for the SVT to trump it in the slalom is a serious achievement. Ditto for the M3, which is a serious sports car costing 3 times or so as much.

Actually I really cannot think of a car with this good of a ride quality having comparable handling. Kudos to the SVT engineers and the Focus Europe engineers.

I misunderstood your previous post - thanks for the clarification.
 

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I mentioned the Z06 because I saw the new one on a British car TV show (Top Gear) last week - I download it off the internet - and the reviewer (Jeremy Clarkson) said what a horribly punishing ride it was on normal roads.

There are some major drawbacks to fully fledged sports cars...but...if you can afford a Z06...you should have a daily driver as well.

Just a note...I'm absolutely sure the new Z06 (based on the C6 Vette) would smoke the SVT in a slalom. Good thing, as my SVT is driven daily!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have driven a C6, and its ride itself was harsh - the Z06 with its track intentions would be far more so.

The SVT slalom speeds are so high (68.7 IIRC on the edmunds test in 2002) that it would be hard to do *far* better. I found this edmunds test for 2006 where they got the Z06 to do a 68.3. So still very comparable - of course comparing two different tests is not quite OK, but even so we get some ballpark estimate. Plus both were edmunds tests, so maybe a little more even ground. Here is the edmunds link.

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=108567/pageId=67619

I find that incredible - a 18K car doing as well as the race trim of America's sports car in a slalom - hard to get over that.

Actually with this kind of incredible handling, they really ought to have experimented with a factory supercharged trim level giving the car power to match its handling. GM did it with the ion redline, which overall is a far inferior car. But the numbers are good - 200 HP in a lightweight car makes a really nice package. I drove the redline quite a bit - it is just not impressive because of the terrible interior design and the poor overall package. Ford could have had a real winner had they upped the power for about 3K more. Of course you can do it with a aftermarket supercharger, but a factory tuner is a factory tuner. If GM could do it, Dodge could do it, Ford should have given it a go IMHO.

Cheers.
 

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^68.7 mph...wow! I had no idea it was so high! I guess I could start taking corners a little faster...great research 2004SonicBlueSVT.

I forgot to say earlier...welcome to the forums! I'm pretty new, too. Sounds like you're enjoying the new ride.
 

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I love the SVT Focus for all of the reasons that people have mentioned earlier.

So far I have gone througha few coil packs though and that's very annoying. The clutch is starting to feel it's age as it slips under hard shifts and the pedal gets very numb if I cruise on the highway for a long distance...

The blue insert seats also annoy me because they stain easily. And by stain I mean when i have a cold drink in the seat the condensation alone is enough ot make it look like someone peed thier pants on the seat!!! That is really embarassing!

The Audiophile is pretty cool with a good range of sound but the sound quality itself is not as good as people like ot say it is. Sometimes it likes to eat my CDs too!

The 17" tires also don't like pot-hles but that's not the SVT's fault...

This is my favorite car though and for good reason [:)]
 

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Focused Focus
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Welcome my friend
 
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